THE BLOG
10/27/2014 10:27 am ET Updated Dec 27, 2014

The Best Advice for Small Business Success: Part 1

Whether solicited or not, you've probably received some sort of advice from any number of people, including friends, family, colleagues and teachers. But what's the most powerful advice you've ever received? What exactly made it so memorable? How did it help you? We reached out to small business owners in Manta's community to find out what they consider to be the best advice they ever received, how it resonated with them and why it was so meaningful.

We spoke to Louis Gibson, owner of The Gibson Entertainment Firm, a full-service entertainment firm that provides tools and resources, including marketing, legal guidance and professional exposure, to help clients gain traction in the music industry. To this day, Gibson remembers a drill instructor telling him, "Lack of education in any business will cause an individual to jump over dollars to pick up pennies. Education is a priceless asset in any business."

Whether a lawyer or a mechanic, having the right education and training plays a key role in how successful your small business will be. For any professional, it's important to educate yourself beyond your industry expertise and focus your efforts on running a business. We dove into Gibson's advice to learn more about the impact it's had on his life.

Manta: Who gave you this piece of advice?

Louis Gibson: I received this advice from a drill instructor when I was in the U.S. Marine Corps. He used to say it while we were going through training.

Manta: How did it make you feel when you first heard it?

LG: I knew that my drill instructor was talking long term, and that he wanted me to apply the advice to being the best member of the Marine Corps I could be. But what he was really doing was preparing me for the future by teaching me how to think of the big picture. He gave that advice to me throughout my time in the Marine Corps, repeating it often. It not only motivated me to educate myself, but it gave me an understanding that it's not always about instant gratification. If I was going to be successful in whatever I chose to do, which ended up being a business owner, I needed to develop a business plan and educate myself about the ins and outs of running a business. It wasn't going to happen overnight, nor was it going to be easy.

Manta: Why do you consider this the best advice you've ever received? When did it begin to really resonate with you?

LG: It resonated when I started to think about my future after the Marine Corps and what it would look like if I started my own business. Before beginning, I reached out to other business owners to understand challenges they faced along the way. I turned to sites like Manta for tips on running a small business; I did everything I could to learn as much as possible before launching my business. When you educate yourself, you learn how to get back up when you fall down. Making mistakes is okay, but you have to learn from them.

Manta: How do you use education as a tool in your business today?

LG: We educate our clients in everything that we do, from instructing them on how to create their own independent label to providing them a thorough understanding of the legal end. A lot of our clients don't have any knowledge of the business aspect of entertainment, and so they forget to focus on the tools they need for success. I teach people how to form a business and tailor their lifestyle to reflect their goals.

Gibson's advice speaks to every kind of small business. No matter what you do, or where you're at in your career, it's important to seek training and educate yourself to bring your business to the next level. Take a class at a local college, attend a workshop or a read a how-to book to help broaden your skill set. And be sure to tap into your network by asking other business owners who have been there before. Yes, it can be difficult to invest the time and energy into training and education, but it's all about the long run. Believe me, your business will thank you.